Dog in a SuitcasePet Traveling Tips

Hints when traveling with pets:

The American Veterinarian Medicine Association has a web site with some helpful suggestions and travel tips. Listed below are some we wanted to share with you.

People face special problems when they have pets and wish to travel. The ideal arrangement is for the animal to stay at home and have a neighbor, friend, or relative go by your house once or twice a day to feed, water, and take care of your pet. Alternatives are a boarding kennel, or a professional pet sitter.

Pets as travel companions or during a move
Moving Box
  • If the pet travels with you, it will retain a sense of identity. However, pets can become frightened and bolt away from you out of open doors and windows. Keep your pet on a leash when outside your car or hotel.

  • Whether your pet travels with you or by another means it should wear a special identification tag in addition to its regular one. Write the pet's name, your name, the person to contact at the destination, their phone number, a destination address, or that of a friend or relative, in case you need to be reached.

  • Except for Seeing Eye dogs accompanying blind persons, pets are not permitted on buses and trains. Notify the airline, bus, or train company that a Seeing Eye dog is accompanying you.

  • Consult with your veterinarian concerning mild sedation of your pet during the trip.
Air travel checklist
Airplane
  • If you decide to ship your pet by air, make reservations and arrangements ahead of time regarding delivery to and pickup from the airports. Carefully schedule boarding and shipping arrangements for your pet to assure that the pet is well cared for until you are able to receive it at your destination. Boarding may be necessary. Follow airline instructions.

  • Check the airline's requirements to see if your pet can travel in a carrier that can be kept under a seat in the cabin or if they must travel by airfreight.

  • Obtain a shipping container a week or two in advance. Familiarize your pet with it by placing the pet in it for a few minutes each day. Gradually lengthen the time until the pet seems to be at ease with it.

  • Feed the pet no less than five or six hours before flight time. Give the pet a drink of water no less than two hours before flight.

  • Be certain that names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the persons responsible for the pet at origination and destination are clearly marked on the container and on the pet's identification tag. Label your pet's flight kennel with the same information. Add "Live Animal" in big letters and information about any special care requirements.
Traveling by car checklist
  • If your dog or cat is not used to traveling by car, make short trips with the pet a week or two in advance of the trip to accustom it to motion and to teach it how to behave.

  • Dogs should be taught to lie quietly, keep their heads inside, and not annoy the driver or passengers. Don't let your dog stick his head in the wind. It can irritate eyes and cause problems.

  • Cats are often frightened by car travel, but some cats adjust quickly. Some persons allow the cat to find its own place in the car; others feel it is best to confine a cat to its carrier.

  • Folding kennels or crates especially designed for station wagons can be most useful for dogs and cats.

  • Accustom your pet to being on a leash and harness. Always use the leash when traveling. Even better is a pet harness (available in the Boutique) that connects to the car's seatbelt; it allows the pet some movement while keeping it safely restrained. Your pets can bolt into traffic or become lost in a strange place if not properly restrained.

  • If stopping overnight, check in advance to find a motel that will permit your pet to spend the night. The following web sites will assist you when traveling with your pets:
    http://www.pettravel.us
    http://www.petswelcome.com
    http://www.petsonthego.com

  • Be sure that your pet is properly tagged and its rabies tag firmly attached.

  • Pet travel kit: pet food, food and water dishes, can opener (if needed), a few treats, a favorite toy, a blanket, comb or brush.

  • Also, to be on the safe side: a sedative (prescribed by your veterinarian), paper towels, spray room deodorant if you will be staying overnight at a hotel or motel, a scooper and plastic bags to clean up after your pet.
  • When the pet has arrived at its new destination, you will find that your pet has the same problems adjusting as you do. It must learn the way around the house and neighborhood. The pet must meet new neighbors, both animals and humans. It must adjust to new water and climate, and must learn where it can and cannot go. It is advisable to keep the pet within the home until it realizes that this is a HOME and not a temporary residence (even though it may be your vacation destination). It may wander off and try to find the former residence. This is especially true of cats; they should be confined for several weeks.

  • Make the animal feel at home by using familiar dishes, blanket, toys, and other items. Check with your neighbors to determine any special problems your pet might encounter, for example, the neighborhood grouch. If you carefully plan your vacation with your pet, you may make a smooth transition from your old to new destination but be prepared for the unexpected; it can and probably will happen.


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